Wrightsville Beach – June 7, 2018
Matt, of Tex’s Tackle, reports that more flounder have been working their way toward the inlets and into the ICW lately, where Gulps, Z-Man JerkshadZ, and live mud minnows and pogies are all getting bites.
Slot and over-slot red drum have moved onto flats in the marsh. They will hit topwater lures, weedless-rigged soft plastics, and spoons. Cut mullet or live baits will get bites from the more heavily-pressured reds. The reds, in addition to black drum and decent numbers of sheepshead, have also been hanging around docks and oyster bars. Live mud minnows and cut shrimp will work for the drum, while fiddler crabs will entice the sheepshead.
Surf fishing has been hit or miss, with sea mullet, pompano, croaker, flounder, black drum, puppy drum, and bluefish all on the list of possibilities. Shrimp, cut mullet, and Fishbites are all solid choices for bait.
Nearshore, spanish fishing has been best a few miles off the beach, though some fish are still hanging around the inlets. A few citation spanish and 20 lb.+ kings have been caught near the beach, while Clarkspoons and #1 or #2 planers have been consistently producing fish, as well as Deep Divers, Spanish Daisy rigs, and mackerel tree rigs.
A handful of cobia have been seen and caught at the beach this week. Look for them swimming around bait balls, rays, sea turtles, and buoys, where you can cast a bucktail, large swimbait, or live bait out in front of them.
Despite there being a few kings caught close to the beach, the best fishing has been at the wrecks and ledges 10-15 miles out. Trolling dead cigar minnows, Deep Divers, and Drone spoons have been working well, but make sure to keep at least one line down on a planer or downrigger. Using live bluefish and menhaden for bait will attract the bigger kings.
Gaffer mahi are being caught on trolled ballyhoo between 15-30 miles.
Gag grouper are steady in the 15+ mile range, along with sea bass, porgies, and grunts. Since they’re occupying similar areas as the kings, it can be worth putting out a cigar minnow or whole squid on a light line while bottom fishing.
Scamps, red grouper, triggerfish, and beeliners are all biting in the 30+ mile range.
In the Stream, big blue marlin have been found in decent numbers, as well as a few white marlin. The billfish are more common in depths of 600’+, but they can be found shallower.
Mahi fishing has been strong, and while tuna and wahoo tend to slow down at this time of year, don’t count them out yet. Troll ballyhoo skirted with Ilanders and Sea Witches, or try Trident lures, Cedar plugs, or Green Machines. Pulling spreader bars, dredges, and daisy chains is a good way to raise more fish, too.
Arlen, of Intracoastal Angler, reports that red drum fishing has been good, mainly in the creeks and flats behind Masonboro and Figure Eight Island. Super Spook Jrs and Skitter Walks have accounted for most of the topwater action, while jerk shads and scented soft plastics have been working well once the sun is high. A few fish are coming from the mainland-side creeks around docks; however, this has slowed with all the recent rain.
Flounder fishing has been best in the river, with live menhaden on Carolina rigs producing fish up to 7 lbs.
Sheepshead fishing has improved recently, especially along the bridges and dock pilings in Banks Channel and from areas close to the inlets. Live fiddler crabs are the best bait.
Nearshore anglers are reporting good catches of spanish, with most being found around bait pods in the 40-45’ range. Cobia are being caught on live menhaden and by sight casting bucktails around bait balls (most of which have been south of Masonboro Inlet).
Nearshore reefs are producing both flounder and spadefish. Bucktails (1-2 oz.) adorned with Gulp curly tails are the best for flounder, while the spades can be caught on light tackle with pieces of cannonball jellyfish. The reefs and wrecks to the south have been holding some nice gray trout.
King fishing is good in the 8-10 mile range, and more dolphin are showing up in the 20 mile range.
On the bottom, scamp grouper fishing has been red hot, mainly on dead cigar minnows fished around the ledges northeast of Frying Pan Tower. Triggerfish and beeliners have been down there with them.
Stream fishing has been slow, but a few dolphin, tuna, and wahoo are coming from the Nipple and Same Ole areas, mainly in 150-180’ of water. A few blue and white marlin were caught in the 150 fathom range.
Jamie, of Seagate Charters, reports that spanish mackerel fishing has been excellent, especially along the beach out to the 25’ range, where traditional spoon and planer setups are getting the most bites.
Red drum are biting around area inlets, as are a few cobia. The reds (along with a few speckled trout) are going for topwater lures from X-Caliber and Rapala. The best way to find the cobia is to first find bait balls and then cast into them with a Blue Water Candy bucktail.
Flounder fishing is picking up as more flatties are starting to bite around nearshore ARs.
Trevor, of ProFishNC Charters, reports that despite rough weather, red drum and flounder fishing has been excellent inshore. The best way to find fish after a heavy rain is to use live baits, as both inshore reds and flounder seem to be more keen to hit those after a storm, as opposed to artificials.
Cobia are moving in quickly and can be found in schools of menhaden off the beach and around rocks and ledges.
Good numbers of king mackerel are coming in from the 8-12 mile range on natural baits trolled between 4.5 and 6 knots. Mahi are falling for the same tactic in the 11-18 mile range.
Flounder fishing has been fantastic off nearshore structure, but expect to weed through plenty of black sea bass to find them. If you’re pulling up nothing but bass, move off the ledge and fish on the bottom within 50 yards of the structure using heavy jig heads tipped with your favorite scented artificial bait.
Numerous amberjack and barracuda have been mixed in as well, especially in the 10-18 mile range, which makes for some really fun sportfishing.
Rick, of Living Waters Guide Service, reports that offshore fishing is still going strong with blackfins, mahi, and billfish (blue and white marlin in addition to sailfish, mainly) all in the mix. Wahoo are starting to become less common, but they can still be found scattered.
Josh, of Johnnie Mercers Pier, reports that pier anglers have seen a few cobia and some good runs on spanish. Bluefish, schools of big ladyfish, and a single barracuda have also come in, in addition to a 25 lb. crevalle jack.
Flounder have started biting, though the majority of them have been small. Cut bait, small pinfish, and small Gulp grubs are catching the flounder.